updated 01:30 am EST, Tue December 10, 2013
Buyers prefer iPhone 5s over 5c by 3-to-1 margin, but both doing well
Confirming widely-held beliefs that the iPhone 5s is outselling the iPhone 5c -- but upending the conventional wisdom that the iPhone 5c isn't doing as well as the iPhone 5 did a year ago -- the latest numbers from mobile analytics company MixPanel show a healthy and growing market for both models, though the iPhone 5s is the more popular -- and, roughly three months after introduction, now accounts for 10 percent of all iPhones.
The number is significant because last year's iPhone 5 -- which was also initially constrained in the first few weeks following its debut -- grew its adoption at a rate of about 0.25 to 0.5 percent per week, while the iPhone 5s has seen 0.75 to one percent per week adoption, about three times higher. Strong pent-up demand from users who held onto their iPhone 4 or 4S models, coupled with the significant technological advances in the iPhone 5s even over the iPhone 5c (including a 64-bit processor, superior camera technology, a motion co-processor and fingerprint scanner among other differences) has driven sales to record adoption rates.
The iPhone 5c, which matches the iPhone 5 in almost all respects apart from having a slightly better battery and a new steel-and-plastic backing plate that offers color options, appears to be selling at around or just slightly above the sales rate of the iPhone 5 when it was at the same point in its sales cycle. As the iPhone 5 was, even towards the end of its cycle, the best- or second-best selling device from each of the major US carriers, the sales of the iPhone 5c only look bad in comparison to one other model: the iPhone 5s.
Together, the numbers should establish Apple as gaining share in both the US and foreign markets when quarter figures are available in January, though growth outside North America will likely be much smaller. While Apple's Android-using competitors sell more smartphones when combined, in many ways they struggle to catch up to the iPhone 5 and 5c in features (if not price), and thus far simply have nothing at all to directly compete against the iPhone 5s -- and aren't expected to produce a viable competitor until well into next year.
The increased sales level of the latest iPhone models also help keep the majority of iOS users at the very latest version of the platform, a key factor in word-of-mouth and developer priorities. Some 97 percent of active iPhone users are on either the latest version of the OS (80 percent) or the most recent previous release, iOS 6 (17 percent), also according to MixPanel figures.